STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Connecticut will begin its Phase 1 reopening plan on Wednesday. Many businesses, including retail stores and outdoor dining, will reopen with new safety measures in place.
Giovanni Gentile has owned Capriccio Restaurant for 20 years. For the past two months the kitchen business has helped, but he said it has hardly been enough to offset his losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve been doing just takeout and deliveries and as a revenue we’re down 80%, so by reopening tomorrow we are looking forward. We are really excited,” Gentile told CBS2’s Dana Tyler on Tuesday.
The eatery has been making last-minute changes for social distancing and health regulations.
“We’re going to use sanitizer. We’re going to wipe down the tables and chairs every time we turn a table,” Gentile said. “And employees with the masks and gloves.”
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However, Gentile has been one of the fortunate ones who did not have to let go of employees.
Scott Dolch, the executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said there were 160,000 food service employees before the pandemic. However, 89,000 were furloughed or laid off just in the months of March and April.
“It has been a very dire situation,” Dolch said, adding the industry followed the guidelines to a T and lost $845 million in revenue. “We also need to get this industry back up and running, not only in Connecticut but in the Tri-State Area. It’s very important to the lifeblood of all of our communities.”
David Kooris, president of Stamford Downtown, said diners are ready to come back, but some are cautious.
“People are not ready to be out in big groups, but as long as they are in small settings, where they have a comfort level that proprietors are following the necessary precautions, they want to get back out,” Kooris said.
Retail stores are banking on the reopening, too. Whim is a clothing store owned by Vivian Hoffman that was a pop-up that went full-time right before the shutdown.
“Sort of sitting with a lot of inventory. We’re trying to put in here what we feel customers will want right now, and I think we all have mixed feelings. You know, we’re excited to be back open, but a little nervous,” Hoffman said.
Businesses are hoping shoppers and dinners are conscientious and loyal.
“We need the people outside again, and we need to restart,” Gentile said.